July 5, 2013
An informal Infowars.com poll posted earlier this week shows that 50 percent of respondents rank the NSA surveillance revelations as the most serious Obama administration scandal to date.
Obama’s drone strikes and the wiretapping of journalists trail with 9 percent and 4 percent respectively.
In response to the NSA’s Stasi-like surveillance of Americans, a number of “Restore the Fourth” demonstrations were held around the country on the 4th of July. The demonstrations were hosted by Fight for the Future and Restore the Fourth, two organizations dedicated to preserving the Fourth Amendment.
Demonstrations in defense of the Fourth and the Bill of Rights were held in San Francisco, Boston, New York City and Washington, D.C., and other cities around the country.
The movement also enjoys a strong online presence. It is popular on Reddit, Imgur, 4chan, WordPress and other sites.
“The tech community is really rallying behind this and really recognizing that if their users are suspicious of using their services because they think the government could be watching them, that’s a huge hit to their business model,” Evan Greer, the campaign manager for Fight for the Future, told NBC News on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Benghazi scandal heated up earlier this week after Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, subpoenaed four State Department officials to answer questions about the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate on September 11, 2012. The issuance of a subpoena means the Obama administration can no longer drag its feet on answering questions about the incident.
The Obama administration’s “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into the First and Fourth Amendment rights of Associated Press journalists after the Justice Department illegally collected phone records in an effort to discover sources behind a news story on Yemen has all but disappeared from the news.
In June, Associated Press president Gary Pruitt said during a speech delivered at the National Press Club that “the chilling effect is not just at AP, it’s happening at other news organizations as well. Journalists from other news organizations have personally told me it has intimidated sources from speaking to them… Now, the government may love this. I suspect they do. But beware the government that loves secrecy too much.”
On Wednesday, a researcher with the Center for Naval Analyses, a group that does contract research for the Pentagon, said Obama’s drone program kills ten times the number of civilians killed in manned airstrikes in Afghanistan.
Despite the study, officials in the Obama administration insist illegal drone strikes kill few civilians. The officials claim between just 20 and 50 civilian deaths since 2008, while the Pentagon reports just 50 civilian deaths over a ten-year period or less than 2.5% of deaths from drone strikes in total between 2001 and 2011.
The apparent lack of interest in Obama’s drone war reflected in the Infowars.com poll may be a microcosm of a larger and more disturbing trend.
A national study released late last month by Duke University’s Institute for Homeland Security Solutions and non-profit research house RTI International found that 57% of the general public supports the use of drones, including domestic use of the unmanned aircraft for applications other than missions in Pakistan, Yemen and other third world countries.